2/6 anaheim 7, SHARKS 4
All throughout the seats and councourse of the HP Pavilion tonight were the cries of "Ducks Suck". Unfortunately, I don't believe the team skating around in the black jerseys tonight heard them (Ducks wore dark jerseys tonight, Sharks to wear dark tomorrow in Anaheim). For the third time this season, and the second consecutive time at home, the Ducks bested the Sharks, and, for the third time this year, the Ducks looked like a great team.
To their credit though, the Sharks didn't play all that bad, they just had a few lapses, unfortunately, each of their lapses either cost the Teal a great scoring opportunity (5 shots at a Giguere-less net and 2 of the largest posts ever attached to an NHL net) or lead to an Anaheim goal. They did have 38 shots, and they even spelled their powerplay drought on two consecutive powerplays (before the first PP goal at 1:19 of the 3rd, the Sharks were 1-40 and 0 for their last 31 man-advantages) in the third period. Jonathan Cheechoo came off the schneid as well tonight (broke a 7 game goalless streak) with a pair of goals [17,18] (Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton), (Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton) (deja vu), and was less than 2 and 3/8 of an inch (post) from a natural hat trick. Mike Grier scored a wacky goal  that seemed to be booted in by the back of Jean-Sebastien Giguere (somehow assisted by Mark Bell and Curtis Brown) and Patrick Marleau recorded his team leading 28th goal  (Ryane Clowe, Marc-Edouard Vlasic). Vesa Toskala made 24 saves in his 8th losing effort this year.
As was mentioned before, the rousing chants of "Ducks suck" complete with duck call prompting were obnoxious (good) and abundant (also good) all throughout the first period and intermission. The booing of former Shark Teemu Selanne and longtime Shark arch-nemesis Chris Pronger whenever they touched the puck (known simply as "The Treatment") was also quite boisterous in the 1st. Unfortunately, the noise came to a halt after the 2nd, when the Ducks pulled away with the lead. It is for this reason that I am looking forward to tomorrow's game in the Ponda.
The last time the Sharks played in Anaheim, they played in front of 15,013 (2,100 short of a sellout). At that time, the Ducks were, as they have been all year, regarded as an elite NHL club, skilled enough to challenge for Lord Stanley's Cup, and playing like it too. Unfortunately, the Anaheim locals decided not to fill the building that night, something they haven't done often this season, at least until now. Tomorrow's game, along with the majority of their remaining home games, have been sold out, or are near sold out. I for one, am excited to see the crowd that fills the Honda Center of Anaheim (couldn't resist). For the good of the NHL, I hope they are loud, excited, and there to stay. As much as it pains me to say it, if the Ducks are going to be a good team, which it seems they will be for a few years to come, it would pain me even more if they don't play in front of a sold out building each and every night. I am a Sharks fan yes, but I'm also a fan of the NHL, and the sport of hockey, and any growth for a team is growth for the whole league, and the game.
The Sharks have played their last game at home for 20 days. Due to other events happening at the Arena (SAP Open, Disney On Ice), the Sharks play on the road for quite a while, including a 7 game in 13 day roadtrip beginning next Tuesday, but we'll get to that soon enough.
The Sharks wrap up this home-and-home tomorrow night in Anaheim (7:00 pst). The Ducks now hold a 5 point lead over the Sharks in the Pacific Division, with four games left to play in the season series. If the Sharks can continue to build and feed off their momentum from the 3rd period tonight (3 goals on 18 shots, inlcuding 2 powerplay goals), it should be a great game. If they cannot control themselves, then duck and cover. Oh, oops.
Go Sharks (Hey Jess, your team just lost, what are you going to do now?)(I'm going to Disneyland!)